"You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done."
Ronald Reagan

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Anne from PA - Patriotism and Honor in Cape May Point, New Jersey

For nearly 40 years, they’ve come — 200 or 300, sometimes 400 a night — for Marvin Hume’s solemn flag-lowering ceremony that each night honors one deceased veteran at Sunset Beach, Cape May New Jersey.

When his audience is in place, Hume comes over the loudspeaker, and in a voice now raspy with age, asks everyone to stand, remove their hats and face the flag. He asks people in cars to shut off their engines. When the crowd is quiet enough, a tape of Kate Smith’s rousing "God Bless America" is played, then the U.S. Army band’s version of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Every flag raised and lowered at the beach — more than 6,000 in all — has been donated by families of deceased veterans.

"We fly nothing but casket flags," said Hume, who owns Sunset Beach and the small gift shops and grill there. "During the sunset ceremony, we say a little bit about the veteran. It’s our way of honoring each of them again."

After the national anthem is played, the lone bugle notes of taps float over the beach, as Hume and members of the veteran’s family lower the flag. Then, as the flag is folded, there is respectful silence, punctuated only by bay waves rolling over the beach.

Marvin Hume never got a Purple Heart for the shrapnel he picked up on the beach during the Battle of Saipan. He doesn’t talk much about his World War II experience. But he is a Navy veteran, and one day, his flag will fly over his beach, and he will be honored the way he has honored so many.

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